Style, performance, extravagance, the Lexus LC 500 delivered everything we expected in a luxury flagship coupe when we first tested it three years ago. How to make it even better? Well, open the top to enhance the sights and sounds of nature while still being pampered behind the wheel.
If you’re looking for a luxurious way to socially distance, and make an escape from all of today’s problems for a few hours or for a few days, the 2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible is the perfect getaway vehicle.
All of the things you expect in a luxury grand tourer are here, as well as a few things you probably didn’t.
Starting with the gorgeous true Coupe shape. There’s a lot going on here, with the new convertible top nearly perfectly integrated with the well-sculpted body, flush door handles, and of course Lexus’ wide-mouth spindle grille. In back, the center brake light is smoothly affixed to the deck lid. 20-inch alloys are standard, with forged 21s, an option.
The 4-layer soft top itself is hydraulically operated; down in 15-seconds; with everything nestling under a tonneau-style lid, where active roll-bars are on stand-by to deploy if needed.
Top up or down, the look is elegant; proof that Lexus has indeed come a long way.
As when we first met the brand in the 9th season of MotorWeek, when Toyota launched their luxury division with the 1990 LS400 sedan; we praised the technology behind the vehicle, but chastised them for playing it safe with such an anonymous body shell. Definitely not the case here.
Unless you’re already familiar with the Coupe, it may surprise you to find a naturally-aspirated 5.0-liter V8 under the hood; no turbo, no electric motors; just pure muscle-car style motivation to the tune of 471-horsepower and 398 lb-ft. of torque. No word yet on if the Coupe’s 3.5-liter Hybrid V6 powertrain will be available in the Convertible or not.
Mash the gas, and it’s easy to forget you’re in a Lexus with all the noise and raucous power that shoots you to 60 in 4.9–seconds, actually a tenth quicker than in our Coupe test. But, the fast and silky smooth shifts from the 10-speed automatic are a very fast reminder. ¼-mile completed in 13.3-seconds at 110 miles-per-hour.
On the stopping end of performance, the brakes were unbelievably consistent; bringing us to a halt from 60 in just 109-feet every single time.
When it comes to handling, it’s more than capable, staying extremely flat while darting in and out of cones with only minor understeer; yet it never loses that ultra-smooth luxury feel.
A complete overhaul for the suspension hardware, and the Adaptive Variable Suspension has also been recalibrated to handle the extra 200 lbs of weight for the soft top and its mechanics; but somehow the Convertible still feels even sportier than the Coupe to us.
And there is indeed plenty of that luxury feel all over the convertible’s interior, yet with the same retro flavor of the Coupe; along with things like the digital instrument cluster that are fully in the modern.
You definitely sit low in the car; and when sweeping through the curves of your favorite back road, it feels plenty solid, thanks to added structural bracing in front and a whole new torsion box in the rear. And with the top up, things are just as quiet and calm as in then Coupe.
The Convertible also brings an updated 10.3-inch multimedia system that is now shared with the Coupe, adding Android Auto integration. But sorry, you’re still stuck with the touchpad interface.
And, you’ll also sacrifice a little trunk space; falling from the Coupe’s 5.4 cubic-ft. to 3.4.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 15-City, 25-Highway, and 18-Combined. We averaged a good 20.6 miles-per-gallon on Premium.
Pricing starts at $102,025, about $8,000 over the Coupe.
This car’s V8 certainly has the power to wake a few people up, and overall the 2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible should wake some other car makers up as well. Luxury, style, performance; you can have it all, and drive the heck out of it too!
Engine: 5.0L V8
Torque: 398 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 4.9 seconds
1/4 Mile: 13.3 seconds @ 110 mph